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Polish border guards push unaccompanied minor with epilepsy to Belarus

A 16-year-old #Syrian boy diagnosed with #epilepsy is currently being monitored in Bobrownik after being taken there by the Border Guard on December 31st. Prior to this and the intervention of several activists and organisations on the ground, the boy was set to be transported into the Belarussian side despite filling for protection through a Polish social organization. The Syrian boy has previously been pushed back from #Poland to #Belarus following two separate attempts to cross into Polish territory on December 23rd and December 29th. On Friday, he was found in the forest by #GrupaGranica (GG) volunteers. From there, he was taken to a hospital in Sokółka, followed by a hospital in #Białystok due to the lack of pediatric neurologists on the border, and finally to the Border Guard Poster in Bobrownik. Thanks to the joint efforts of the #UNHCR Poland, the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights, the Polish Migration Forum, the Ocalenie Foundation, and GG, the Podlaska Border Guard has accepted to process a protection application on behalf of the minor. Now the media and the relevant authorities must continue to monitor his status to prevent any further attempts to transport him back to Belarus. GG among other activists are now demanding an explanation for the decision to push back the boy and his group. They also request to know the identity of the person who took this decision so as to make him responsible for the wellbeing of the boy, who was in no condition to be transported back to Belarus. Sadly, we need to remind the authorities and the public yet again that the Border Guards’ attempts to push back people found on the Polish territory to Belarus is an #illegal act that violates the fundamental #humanrights of those seeking asylum. As long as Belarus continues to be an unsafe place for #asylumseekers, #pushbacks are an act of extreme cruelty and state-sanctioned violence. All #refugees should immediately receive appropriate and timely aid at the border to avoid any more of the casualties we have reported during the last months.

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